April 18, 2011

BAA 5K Winner

Queasy and lethargic earlier in the week due to a nagging cold, Ben True arrived at the starting line for yesterday’s Boston Athletic Association 5K looking to save himself for one big move over the final 400 meters.

True ran comfortably with the huge lead pack through a pedestrian opening mile of 4:41 and had plenty left to outkick Bobby Curtis and lead 10 runners across the finish line under the course record with a time of 14 minutes, 7 seconds. Curtis (14:09) finished second, edging out Ben St. Lawrence (14:09) and John Korir (14:09).

Former course-record holder Jarrod Shoemaker of Maynard also bettered his 14:29 mark from the inaugural 5K in 2009 with a 14:23 that earned him seventh place.

The competition didn’t give True, a native of North Yarmouth, Maine, and Dartmouth College product, an inch heading down Boylston Street to the finish.

“I got a little worried when Curtis jumped on me at the end, but I was able to reel him back in, so I was really happy,” True said. “Once I reeled him in, I knew I had it. Coming down the final stretch it was a drag race.

“It was great fun. The crowd was great and the energy here is just fabulous.”

It was a morning of records. In addition to the men’s mark, the low times fell in the women’s and men’s and women’s masters divisions.

Lineth Chepkurui was never challenged as she bettered the 16:52 course record set by Watertown’s Jennifer Campbell last year with a scintillating 15:52. Jimmy Lynch captured the men’s masters race in 15:51, bettering Wayne Levy’s 16:27. Kathleen Jobes clocked a 17:37 to dip under Kathy Fleming’s 2009 mark of 17:40.

With her record run, Chepkurui added another New England victory to her resume. The 23-year-old Kenyan dominated the Beach to Beacon 10K in Maine by 26 seconds last year, ripping off a swift 31:00. The diminutive Chepkurui is anything but that on the roads, and she won her third consecutive Lilac Bloomsday Run in 2010 with a world’s best time of 38:10 for 12K.

“In the morning I was so worried,” Chepkurui said. “When I woke up it was pouring. It got much better and at the start of the race the weather was improving.”

Chepkurui hinted that she may be in the marathon field in 2012.

“This is so amazing,” she said with a smile. “Being with the Boston marathoners. I’ve never seen such a well organized race as this. I’m so proud.

“I’m looking forward to not running on a Sunday again, but running on a Monday.”

High school phenom Lukas Verzbicas led Andrew Baddeley down Boylston Street before the Brit edged out the youngster with a last-ditch surge for the 4:16.7 win in the mile competition.

Verzbicas, making a second appearance on the roads of Boston to go with indoor appearances at the Reggie Lewis Center, was a step back in 4:16.8 and Craig Miller took third in 4:17.4.

Defending champion Anna Pierce put herself in position for a second consecutive victory at the mile distance, but Marina Muncan outleaned Pierce at the tape for the 4:58.7 win. Pierce was clocked in 4:58.8.

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